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Free movement of goods in Europe

Free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the European Internal Market and is provided for by Articles 34 to 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Procedures, standards and rules common to all Member States mean that businesses in the EU have unhindered access to the European Internal Market with its 500 million consumers.

Free movement of goods is ensured by the harmonisation of technical legislation at European level and, where the legislation is not harmonised, by the principle of "mutual recognition" under which a product lawfully marketed in a Member State may be marketed in all the others, unless it compromises essential public interest requirements (particularly, the health and safety of individuals).

Harmonised sector-specific legislation at European level

Some goods, accounting for the majority of intra-Community trade, are subject to harmonised sector-specific legislation at European level. Technical harmonisation is made effective via directives or regulations some of which make « CE » marking compulsory. Businesses thus certify that their goods comply with legislative provisions, in particular as regards health and safety. This marking, which is compulsory for the relevant goods, means that they are able to move freely throughout the EU.

National legislation

Some goods are governed by non-harmonised national provisions. Regulation (EC) No. 764/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council strives to improve the free movement of these goods by regulating national administrative decisions which may create obstacles to such movement.

Under this Regulation, a national Product Contact Point has been established to inform economic operators of the regulations applicable in France for each type of product. It is part of the Directorate General for Competitiveness, Industry and Services / Sub-Directorate of Standardisation, Quality and Industrial Property (DGCIS / SQUALPI).

Information sheets by product family

Each product sheet contains :

  • the relevant European and/or French legislation ;
  • contact details for the government departments responsible for this legislation and for market surveillance
  • useful contacts.

 

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